Social Media Guidelines

The keys to success in social media are being honest about who you are, being thoughtful before you post, and respecting the purpose of the community where you are posting.

Be transparent. Be honest about your identity. If you are authorized by your supervisor to represent Plymouth State in social media, say so. If you choose to post about PSU on your personal time, please identify yourself as a PSU faculty or staff member. Never hide your identity for the purpose of promoting Plymouth State through social media.

A good resource about transparency in online communities is the Blog Council’s “Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit” at http://blogcouncil.org/disclosure/.

Be accurate. Make sure that you have all the facts before you post. It’s better to verify information with a source first than to have to post a correction or retraction later. Cite and link to your sources whenever possible; after all, that’s how you build community.

If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly. This will earn you respect in the online community.

Be respectful. You are more likely to achieve your goals or sway others to your beliefs if you are constructive and respectful while discussing a bad experience or disagreeing with a concept or person.

Be a valued member. If you join a social network like a Facebook group or comment on someone’s blog, make sure you are contributing valuable insights. Don’t post information about topics like PSU events or a book you’ve authored unless you are sure it will be of interest to readers. Self-promoting behavior is viewed negatively and can lead to you being banned from Web sites or groups.

Think before you post. There’s no such thing as a “private” social media site. Search engines can turn up posts years after the publication date. Comments can be forwarded or copied. Archival systems save information even if you delete a post. If you feel angry or passionate about a subject, it’s wise to delay posting until you are calm and clear-headed.

Maintain confidentiality. Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Plymouth State, its students, its alumni or your fellow employees. Use good ethical judgment and follow university policies and federal requirements, such as FERPA.

If you discuss a situation involving individuals on a social media site, be sure that they cannot be identified. As a guideline, don’t post anything that you would not present at a conference.

Link back. Help readers and followers take action, learn more, and share more completely bu including a link that offers more detail about what you post. Links to the Plymouth State Web site are encouraged. Be sure your followers can easily click the link wherever you post it.

Post to our Web site first. Sharing original information about PSU that isn’t on our Web site (or on a well respected Web site elsewhere) limits the credibility, sharability, and future findability of the content. Post the full story to the Plymouth State site, then share it in other media.

Respect university time and property. University computers and your work time are to be used for university-related business. It’s appropriate to post at work if your comments are directly related to accomplishing work goals, such as seeking sources for information or working with others to resolve a problem. You should maintain your personal sites on your own time using non-PSU computers.

The above content above and on the following pages was adapted from DePaul University’s social media guidelines. It is used here with permission.

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